What do you do when you need an air purifier but only have an old Hyundai Ioniq 5 lying around? Convert the EV into an air purifier, as Hyundai just did!
Previously, we told you about a Finn that disposed of his old Tesla Model S by blowing it up (with the help of experts). However, there is another method of dealing with old electric vehicles, as demonstrated by Hyundai.
The Ioniq 5 model that got repurposed was actually a prototype, which the company cannot sell. This is part of the sunk costs of running a car manufacturing company. Every new model required dozens of prototypes for testing and certification purposes. After the development is completed, the company has to decide what to do with these early units. Most of them get crushed no matter how close to production they are, but a few get preserved or used for further development work.
Hyundai decided to spare one prototype of the Ioniq 5 the fate of the crusher and instead let their engineer’s imagination run wild. In the end, the team decided to turn the crossover SUV into a big air purifier.
The engineers disassembled the car entirely to figure out which parts were useful to make that happen.
The end-product has a resemblance to an Apple Mac Pro tower, but it purifies air instead of carrying out computational tasks.
Hyundai engineers used one of the 20-inch alloy wheels as the top of the purifier’s case. The car’s doors and hood became the side panels of the new purifier.
The Ioniq 5 air purifier is larger than your average air cleaner, but you can’t blame the engineers as they had ample materials to work with.
At the core, the purifier is composed of the cabin air filter and cooling fans that process the air around you. Controlling the air purifier will be familiar to Ioniq 5 owners because you will use the touchscreen center console lifted from the car. The engineers did an excellent job integrating the screen into the purifier’s body. They even include the Ioniq 5 logo to remind you of the source of the materials.
The Ioniq 5 air purifier also features the pixelated LED taillamps and the digital instrument cluster.
Recycling is a common theme in the electric vehicle industry, especially batteries. After they have reached end-of-life, they can pollute the environment if not handled properly. Options include repurposing them as Hyundai has done to this lucky prototype. The old batteries can be used in energy storage systems to augment renewable energy sources that have high variability in output, like solar farms. These old batteries can also work for domestic energy needs because they still hold enough charge to power homes.
Another option is retrieving the materials from the battery through recycling. The components are separated and used to make new batteries. Experts believe a good percentage of raw materials needed for new batteries can be obtained from old batteries.
Other parts of a regular vehicle can be recycled, including steel components and glass parts.
Meanwhile, Hyundai has no plan to go into converting their old cars to air-purifying units commercially. This was simply for the brand’s marketing purposes and a fun way to let their engineers exercise their imagination. However, it is not impossible that Hyundai will stumble upon something valuable in this stunt.